British Paralympic Association and Help for Heroes launch ‘Front Line to Start Line’ initiative ahead of London 2012
about a year ago
The British Paralympic Association (BPA) and Forces Charity Help for Heroes (H4H) today announced a new initiative called ‘Front Line to Start Line’ (FL2SL) which will see them collaborate on projects to support wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women – serving and veteran – make the progression towards representing their country in Paralympic sport, or working in the sector.
'Sport can have a fantastic effect on an individual’s recovery and return to an active lifestyle. Working with the British Paralympic Association, Help for Heroes and others, the Battle Back programme has offered wounded servicemen and women the opportunity to enjoy sport and we have seen some real sporting talent flourish.'Colonel David Norris
At the launch today at the BT Paralympic World Cup, Head of Phoenix Battle Back at Help for Heroes, Martin Colclough and BPA CEO Tim Hollingsworth signed a Memorandum of Understanding that outlines the areas that they will collaborate on. These are designed to support service personnel participating in the MOD’s Battle Back programme as they progress in performance sport both on and off the field in the years following the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
Speaking at the launch Tim Hollingsworth said: 'The Paralympic movement started when injured service personnel played competitive sport as part of their rehabilitation programme. With less than 100 days to go until a home Paralympic Games, this agreement is about providing support for the crucial next step for those servicemen and women today coming out of rehabilitation, so that any injured service personnel – whether serving or veteran – who has the potential can progress towards representing their country in Paralympic sport. To get there takes hard work, talent and determination and H4H and the BPA are well placed to be able to work with the Ministry of Defence and others to support their ambitions and maximise the opportunity for sport to play a crucial role in their future.'
Martin Colclough commented: 'It is fitting that we launch this new initiative today at the BT Paralympic World Cup where we have seen Private Derek Derenalagi compete. Derek was one of the inspirations behind the founding of H4H when co-founders, Bryn & Emma Parry saw him in Selly Oak Hospital. To see him now competing at an international event and with the hope of competing at the Paralympic Games is brilliant. He is an example of what can be achieved with the right support. The Front Line to Start Line initiative will help many more service personnel achieve sporting excellence.'
Colonel David Norris, Chairman of the Combined Services Adaptive Sports Association said: 'Sport can have a fantastic effect on an individual’s recovery and return to an active lifestyle. Working with the British Paralympic Association, Help for Heroes and others, the Battle Back programme has offered wounded servicemen and women the opportunity to enjoy sport and we have seen some real sporting talent flourish. Frontline to Start Line will allow us to continue to develop the programme providing opportunities for sport to meet the individual’s needs and aspirations and nurturing talent of serving personnel and veterans. It is an exciting initiative and I look forward to working closely with Tim and Bryn as we turn this initiative into reality for those that matter – our people.'
Private Derenalagi was funded by H4H to attend the BPA’s Talent Transition Programme in the summer of 2010. This is the kind of programme that the Front Line to Start Line initiative will support. He commented: 'Getting involved in competitive sport and now competing at the elite level has been amazing. H4H and the BPA have really helped me to take my sport to the next level and now I’m aiming to compete for ParalympicsGB in London, something that I’ve dreamed about since watching the Beijing Paralympics from my hospital bed.'
Minister for Sport and Olympics Hugh Robertson said: “As a former serviceman myself, I want to do everything possible to help soldiers injured while on duty rebuild their lives through sport. The Paralympics began in this country in 1948 to help servicemen injured in World War II, so this is a fantastic and appropriate initiative as London prepares to host the Games once again.”
The two charities are working on a number of ideas to secure funding for future programmes to ensure that athletes aiming for Sochi and Rio can get the best support possible.